[tor-dev] Prop-279 for Onion Alternative Name Representations (Re: Error-Correcting Onions with Bech32)

nullius nullius at nym.zone
Mon Jan 1 08:45:57 UTC 2018

On 2017-12-31 at 10:48:52 +0000, Yawning Angel <yawning at schwanenlied.me> 
>This is pointless because internationalized domain names are 
>standardized around Punycode encoding (Unicode<->ASCII), and said 
>standard is supported by applications that support IDN queries.
>I am firmly against this change, and I'm not particularly thrilled by 
>the thought of homograph attacks either.

Happy New Year, Yawning; and apologies for the delayed reply.  I thought 
I’d best work up some code for an object demonstration of why I urge the 
importance of UTF-8 (and also embedded spaces, which I forgot to mention 

Here is an 8-word mnemonic phrase encoding for Wikileaks 
(http://wlupld3ptjvsgwqw.onion/), in 8 different languages or writing 

real element glow tennis pluck museum hair shuffle
洁 爱 唱 仰 泪 吴 乎 怒
潔 愛 唱 仰 淚 吳 乎 怒
parole distance fautif sombre notoire loyal flairer ratisser
retina erba idillio suonare potassio opposto india scuderia
にもつ けろけろ しちりん ほめる とかす たんまつ しゃうん はんしゃ
잠자리 반죽 상품 큰딸 이불 열차 선풍기 중반
pie dulce gimnasio tabla oscuro molde guerra repetir

Imagine an activist whispering this address in someone’s ear, in the 
people’s native tongue!

Respectively, those mnemonics are in English, Chinese (Simplified), 
Chinese (Traditional), French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish.  
Those are not my selections; they are the languages for which wordlists 
are currently available in the standard I am adapting.  Here is a hint 
on how to produce these phrases:

As for Punycode vs. UTF-8:

Homograph attacks are not “solved” by Punycode any more than they would 
be fixed by base64ing all addresses.  Punycode is not a security 
feature; to the contrary!  CVE-2013-7424, CVE-2015-8948, CVE-2016-6261, 
CVE-2016-6262, CVE-2017-14062....  Need I say more?

With some care, I can write a perfectly secure UTF-8 handler (forbidding 
non-shortest form, with a proper U+FFFD replacement algorithm, etc.).  
Whereas I have never seen a Punycode decoder which gives me confidence 
in its behaviour under all possible inputs.  I assiduously avoid 
interacting with the bloat and pitfalls of IDNA and Punycode, insofar as 
I can.  By contrast, UTF-8 has been happily in use on Unix/Plan9 systems 
for a quarter-century.

I know that as you say, applications which handle a string as a “domain” 
will Punycode it before Tor even sees it.  But my thinking from the 
beginning was not in terms of DNS names.  One of my constructive 
criticisms of prop-279 is that it makes that assumption.

The proper question is not, “How do we make more flexible pseudo-DNS 
lookups?”, but rather more generally: **How can we turn the pseudorandom 
binary data from .onion names into forms friendlier to humans?**  If the 
Name System API could be in some way modified to admit better answers in 
the long term, then it would be my pleasure to help achieve that.

Now since I know that Alec Muffett is reading this thread, here are 
mnemonics in the same languages for facebookcorewwwi.onion:

chimney capital common neither demand certain hen athlete
身 热 界 巨 置 证 假 然
身 熱 界 巨 置 證 假 然
caméra boussole chasseur mairie crayon butiner fougère annuel
casuale buffone collare osare derivare capello intuito apatico
かいさつ おこす かんそう ちせい ぐうせい おもたい しゅらば いはつ
노력 기획 답변 예방 매장 남자 세월 고급
calor brazo centro mover crema cabeza helio antojo

Dare to dream outside the quasi-DNS box about how .onion addresses can 
be represented!

nullius at nym.zone | PGP ECC: 0xC2E91CD74A4C57A105F6C21B5A00591B2F307E0C
Bitcoin: bc1qcash96s5jqppzsp8hy8swkggf7f6agex98an7h | (Segwit nested:
“‘If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.’
No!  Because I do nothing wrong, I have nothing to show.” — nullius
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